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Spring 2012 Tutorials

Information Technology Services

Research Services offers tutorials and workshops on a variety of topics.  Each semester, we present a series of tutorials.  If you have suggestions, please contact us (  We will also give customized tutorials, and we are  available for advanced topics and consulting. 

The tutorials are available to all members of the BC community.  There is no cost for the tutorials.

To register, please send email to with the names of the tutorials that you are interested in attending 

The Spring 2012 Tutorials are:

Constructing a Path Model: Complementing Theory with Empirical Evidence

This tutorial will explore the construction of a path model for social science research. Path analysis, also known as causal modeling, suggests that there are multiple pathways to social
change. Researchers who use this technique posit that there are indirect as well as direct effects on outcomes of interests in the social sciences. This tutorial will examine some of the steps in constructing a path model based on theoretical considerations, from the seminal of work of Baron & Kenny in 1986 to current, though contested, directions in examining mediation. Many of the examples used in this workshop will use SPSS and Lisrel, although the content of the tutorial will be applicable to any SEM software. A working knowledge of OLS regression is highly recommended for attendeesinterested in this workshop.

February 15, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Creating Web-based Surveys with Qualtrics - Getting Started

Qualtrics offers a way to create complex surveys without complicated programming. It offers survey design functionality that is more extensive than that offered by Survey Monkey. Qualtrics offers an extensive library of surveys and a number of options for encryption. Working within pre-defined templates, you can use several different types of questions, including text, multiple checkboxes, sliders, single-answer radio buttons, Likert scales. Qualtrics also offers extensive branching functionality. Once the survey is completed, data can be downloaded into a format that can be used with Excel, SPSS, or other analysis programs.This tutorial will also include a section on research protections and informed consent with respect to online survey development, distribution, and analysis.

BC's School of Arts & Sciences, CSON, CSOM, and LSOE have purchased annual Qualtrics licenses that are available for use by faculty, staff, and students in those schools. People not in these schools are also welcome to attend this tutorial. Those community members not in A&S, CSON, CSOM, or LSOE may register for a limited free Qualtrics account at They may also obtain free access to Qualtrics online tutorials and help articles. It is recommended that you contact your school (A&S, CSON, CSOM, or LSOE) or to obtain
a Qualtrics account prior to the tutorial.

March 21, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Examining the Measurement Properties of a Scale with Reliability and Confirmatory Factor Analysis

This tutorial will explore the basic steps in establishing the reliability and validity of a scale in social science disciplines. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) emphasizes the use of theory in measurement hypothesis testing, which is informed by the researcher's applied theoretical framework and empirical evidence from reliability analysis and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). This session will discuss the interpretation of reliability and EFA results on SPSS, and then examine CFA results from Lisrel. The goal of this tutorial is to introduce some of the methodology behind CFA analysis and provide some resources for beginning users to expand their knowledge on the topic.

February 8, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Introduction to ArcGIS

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used for visualizing, managing, creating, and analyzing geographic data. Such applications are widely used in academia, private industry and government agencies. ArcGIS Desktop software is an integrated suite of advanced GIS applications and interfaces, used to perform various GIS tasks, from simple to advanced, including: mapping, geographic analysis, geostatistics, data editing, compilation, management and visualization. ArcGIS Desktop is scalable to meet the needs of many
types of users.

This session will introduce users to:

  • ArcGIS software, data and technical support at Boston College
  • License options
  • MainArcGIS features and capabilities (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcTool,
  • Demos using Census data and Environmental data. Options to get data and training will be also discussed.

No prior knowledge of ArcGIS is required.

April 20, 2012    10:00 - 11:30 am    O'Neill 245

Introduction to Gaussian & GaussView

Gaussian is an electronic structure programs and computational chemistry package. It can predict properties of molecules and reaction. GaussView is a graphical use interface (GUI) designed to be used with Gaussian to make calculation preparation and output analysis easier, quicker and more efficient. This tutorial will cover:

  • Overview of computational chemistry application in Scorpio
  • Gaussian and GaussView Capabilities
  • Input File preparation and keyword Specification
  • How to run Gaussian jobs in Scorpio
  • View and analyze results
  • Hands on experiments
  • Some advanced topics: PES, IRC, transition state, NBO and QM/MM models etc

April 18, 2012   12:30 - 2:00 pm   O'Neil 245

Introduction to the Linux Cluster

This tutorial is intended to be an introduction to the Linux cluster at Boston College. An overview, the primary components, and examples of how to use BC's Linux cluster will be presented. This hands-ontutorial will cover:

  • Overview of the Linux cluster system at Boston College
  • The hardware architecture
  • How to apply for an account
  • Management of Linux Cluster
  • How to remote access of the cluster
  •  Common Unix/Linux commands?
  • How to use software modules and PBS queuing system
  • Compilers and computational libraries
  • How to compile, debug and run programs

March 26, 2012   12:30 - 2:00 pm   O'Neil 245

Introduction to Power Analysis

Statistical Power is defined as the ability to find a statistically significant difference when the null hypothesis is false.  The power of a study is influenced by a number of factors including sample size, alpha level and effect size. This tutorial will discuss the theoretical considerations for using power analysis for determining
sample size for a research study and examples of how to use programs such as SPSS Sample Power and Stata for the statistical components of power analysis for a number of statistical models.

March 29, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm O'Neill 245

Introduction to Qualitative Analysis Using Nvivo9, Atlas.ti, or HyperResearch

This tutorial will provide a general discussion of qualitative research and a demonstration of rece Nvivo 9. We will also discuss and compare Atlas.ti 6.2, and HyperResearch 3.2. Each of these software products has strengths and weaknesses when used for coding and analyzing qualitative data. However they can all be used, with planning and rigorous qualitative research methodologies, to eliminate the problems of managing large amounts of qualitative data. They can all be used to code and re-code qualitative data, keep an audit trail of the analysis process, and to support both individual researchers and research teams in thinking about coding and analysis issues. Depending on the participants specific research interests we can also discuss individual coding questions or arrange for follow up

March 28, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Introduction to Statistics in Social Science Research at Boston College

This introductory tutorial is designed to introduce the use of statistics in disciplines such as social work, psychology, education, nursing, and sociology. The workshop will explore some basic skills in data management, descriptive statistics, transformations, bivariate tests of significance and multivariate regression analysis. This tutorial will provide attendees with a basic knowledge of commonly-used procedures on SPSS, using the menu-driven input as well as coding through syntax files. Additionally, there will be an overview on research resources at Boston College, such as statistical packages offered by the university and consultations from Research Services.

February 1, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Locating and Using Data for Secondary Research at Boston College

Boston College offers many sources and repositories of data for secondary research in the social sciences, education, nursing, economics, business and other disciplines. This workshop is particularly geared to researchers who need to access, analyze and manipulate data from BC's subscription data repositories. This
tutorial will help you:

  • Find the data you need for your research or class project
  • Learn about the Boston College collection of data resources in the Statistical Data Catalog
  • How to download the data onto your desktop, including how to import into quantitative analytical tools such as SPSS.
  • Tour of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, a data archive that includes over 5,000 datasets.

We will also discuss the library's guides to key Business, Economics, Education, Health, and General U.S. and cross-national data sources. Topics may be customized based on attendees' research interests. Please contact for more information.

March 14, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

MATLAB 1: Fundamentals

MATLAB fundamentals and the following seminars provide a working introduction to the MATLAB technical computing environment. MATLAB can be used with all aspects of Mathematical computation, analysis, visualization, and algorithm development. This workshop is intended for beginning and intermediate users. No prior knowledge of MATLAB is required. Themes of vector and matrix data analysis, graphical visualization, data modeling, and MATLAB programming are explored by example.

This MATLAB workshop will present:

  • MATLAB documentation and help
  • Starting and quitting MATLAB
  • How to use MATLAB on Linux cluster "scorpio"
  • Interaction and Script Files
  • Distinctive Features of MATLAB
  • Automatic Storage Allocation
  • Functions with Variable Arguments Lists
  • Complex Arrays and Arithmetic
  • IEEE ArithmeticMathematical Functions

February 7, 2012    10:00 - 11:30 am   O'Neill 245

MATLAB 2: Matrices

Matrices are fundamental to MATLAB, and even if you are not intending to use MATLAB for linear algebra computations you need to become familiar with matrix generation and manipulation. In the MATLAB environment, a matrix is a rectangular array of numbers. Scalar and vectors are particular cases of matrices and in the beginning, it is usually best to think of everything as a matrix. The operations in MATLAB are designed to be as natural as possible and MATLAB allows you to work with entire matrices quickly and easily. This workshop will

  • Matrix generation
  • Subscripting and the Colon Notation
  • Matrix and Array Operations
  • Matrix Manipulation
  • Data Analysis

February 14, 2012    10:00 - 11:30 am   O'Neill 245

MATLAB 3: Operators, Flow control, M - Files

The MATLAB provides a powerful programming language, as well as an interactive computational environment. You can enter commands from the language one at a time at the MATLAB command line, or you can write a series of commands to a file that you then execute as you would any MATLAB function. Creating M-files and efficient use of operators, and flow control commands, are necessary for efficient programming. This workshop will introduce:

  • Relational and Logical Operators
  • Flow Control
  • Scripts and Functions
  • Editing M-Files
  • Working with M-Files and the MATLAB Path

February 21, 2012    10:00 - 11:30 am   O'Neill 245

MATLAB 4: Graphs and Visualization

The MATLAB environment provides a wide variety of techniques to display data graphically. Interactive tools enable you to manipulate graphs to achieve results that reveal the most information about your data. You can also annotate and print graphs for presentations, or export graphs to standard graphics formats. In this workshop we cover the basic use of MATLAB's most popular tools for graphing two- and three-dimensional data. We illustrate:

  • Two-Dimensional Graphics
  • Basic Plots
  • Axes and Annotation
  • Multiple Plots in a Figure
  • Three-Dimensional Graphics
  • Specialized Graphs for Displaying Data
  • Saving and Printing Figures
  • Examples presented (m files) can be easily modified and applied to your specific experimental or model data.

February 24, 2012    11:00 - 12:30 am    O'Neill 245

Stata 1: Descriptive Analysis

Stata is a powerful, yet easy to use statistical package. This hands-on tutorial is designed as an introduction for beginning users who are just getting started using Stata. The emphasis in this tutorial is on exploring the data, cleaning the data for research purposes, using graphs, employing descriptive statistics and running simple regressions.  The following topics will be covered:

  • Getting started: open data files, use variable manager.
  • Explore the data: check variables, use labels and filters, describe data.
  • Modify the data: create new variables, recode data, examine and impute missing values.
  • Produce output: log-files, labelbook, codebook, graphs, simple regressions.

March 15, 2012    12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245

Stata 2: Regression Analysis

This hands-on tutorial is designed for beginning users who are familiar with the basics of Stata. The emphasis in this tutorial is on linear regressions and binary data analysis. Basic programming concepts are introduced.  The following topics will be covered:

  • Linear regression: OLS, significance tests, postestimation analysis.
  • Categorical variables: factor variables, interactions and interpretation.
  • Categorical outcomes: logit and probit models, multinomial and ordered logit, interpretation.
  • Programming skills: creating and using do-files, basic ideas.

March 22, 2012   12:00 - 1:30 pm   O'Neill 245